Search This Blog

Monday, January 9, 2012

Lawful Mac Bethad vs usurper Macbeth from the northern shores

 see wordlets here
Lady MacBeth is most famous for being the wife and queen of Mac Bethad mac Findlaích (Macbeth). The dates of her life are not certainly known.
MACBETH, king of Scotland (c1005 - d. 1058), was the son of Findlaech, mormaer or hereditary ruler of Moreb (Moray and Ross), who had been murdered by his nephews in 1020. In 1040 he became king.

For a novel on it: see here.  For a Graphic novel form -see Heinle catalogue.
BBC sources: Macbeth was a king of the Scots whose rule was marked by efficient government and the promotion of Christianity, but who is best known as the murderer and usurper in William Shakespeare's tragedy. 

Norman Davies says in the Isles (p. 256):
Macbeth was overthrown by an ancestor of the Stewarts. His reputation had to be assasinated, hw who was not assasin.John of Bordon made him an usurper in the XIV c.; later Andrew of Wyntoun made him the killer of Duncan. In the Renaissance, Boede created our Lady Macbeth persona in Latin, and the historians Buchanan and Hollinshed followed suit. The Bard only add words, full of poetry:

She should have died hereafter;There would have been time for such a word.Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrowCreeps in this petty pace from day to dayTo the last syllable of recorded time;And all our yesterdays have lighted foolsThe way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!Life's but a walking shadow, a poor playerThat struts and frets his hour upon the stage,And then is heard no more. It is a taleTold by an idiot, full of sound and fury,Signifying nothing.  
  • Macbeth , Scene V
Shakespeare's Macbeth bears little resemblance to the real 11th century Scottish king. For 14 years, Macbeth seems to have ruled equably, also for women and children, imposing law and order and encouraging Christianity. In 1050, he is known to have travelled to Rome for a papal jubilee. He was also a brave leader and made successful forays over the border into Northumbria, England.

He probably became mormaer on the death of Malcolm, one of the murderers, in 1029, and he may have been one of the chiefs (the Maclbaethe of the Saxon Chronicle) who submitted to Canute in 1031. Marianus records that in 1040 Duncan, the grandson and successor of Malcolm king of Scotland, was slain by Macbeth. Duncan had shortly before suffered a severe defeat at the hands of Thorfinn, the Norwegian earl of Orkney and Caithness, and it was perhaps this event which tempted Macbeth to seize the throne. As far as is known he had no claim to the throne except through his wife Gruach, who appears to have been a member of the royal family. Macbeth was apparently a generous benefactor to the Church, and is said to have made a pilgrimage to Rome in 1050. According to S. Berchan his reign was a time of prosperity for Scotland. The records of the period, however, are extremely meagre, and much obscurity prevails, especially as to his relations with the powerful earl Thorfinn. More than one attempt was made by members of the Scottish royal family to recover the throne; in 1045 by Crinan, the lay abbot of Dunkeld, the son-in-law of Malcolm II., and in 1054 by Duncan's son Malcolm with the assistance of Siward the powerful earl of Northumbria, himself a connexion of the ousted dynasty. Three years later in 1057 Malcolm and Siward again invaded Scotland and the campaign ended with the defeat and death of Macbeth, who was slain at Lumphanan. Macbeth is, of course, chiefly famous as the central figure of Shakespeare's great tragedy.

No comments: